Eavesdropping Your Keyboard just got waaay easier

21 October 2008

If you think you can manage to do your daily computing from a shanty deep inside the woods, or browse Bitterwallet from a boat in the middle of a lake, now might be a good time to consider giving that a try.

The high-tech geniuses of the world have now mastered the science of eavesdropping on every keystroke you make at your computer.

One of the internet’s foremost tech news blogs, Engadget, published in a recent post that the Security and Cryptography Lab at Switzerland's EPFL has technology that can record the keystrokes from a keyboard’s electromagnetic radiation output even better than its predecessors. Here's the report and videos demonstrating how this technology works:

“They've found four different ways to listen in, including one previously-published general vulnerability, on eleven keyboard models ranging from 2001 to 2008, with PS/2, USB and laptop keyboards all falling to at least one of the four attacks.”

That means, you can rest easy knowing that wireless computing, especially in public, is even less secure than you thought. Hackers can now find out what data you are entering from 65 miles feet (thanks Damien!) away through walls. In other words, you and everyone you know with a computer newer than the Apple IIe is screwed. Computer manufacturers will also now have an excuse to sell you a fancy, expensive ’high security’ ergonomic keyboard that will protect you against those [email protected] Privacy invasion, do I hear you say?

Compromising Electromagnetic Emanations of Keyboards Experiment 1/2 from Martin Vuagnoux on Vimeo.

Compromising Electromagnetic Emanations of Keyboards Experiment 2/2 from Martin Vuagnoux on Vimeo.

Maybe it's time for Alan Sugar to consider taking some time off being a big bad Apprentice mentor and start selling the Amstrad again.


TOPICS:   Privacy


  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Actually I think the old keyboards were worse for this and newer keyboards were made to reduce the possibility of this type of hack. The Swiss guys just demonstrated better equipment and software for picking this up even on recently built keyboards.
  • Damian
    65 MILES???? Great typo. Now that WOULD be worrying! Its actually 65 feet. Thanks for amusing me!

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